By Bob Katzen
Bill (H 3196) urges Congress to repeal the federal law that makes marijuana illegal in order to put a stop to the conflict between the federal government’s ban and the Bay State which has legalized it.
Supporters of the repeal cited a recent statement by U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling that he would not rule out prosecution of any of the many players in the state’s marijuana industry.
Congress has unambiguously made it a federal crime to cultivate, distribute and/or possess marijuana,” said Lelling. “As a law enforcement officer in the Executive Branch, it is my sworn responsibility to enforce that law, guided by the Principles of Federal Prosecution. Deciding, in advance, to immunize a certain category of actors from federal prosecution would be to effectively amend the laws Congress has already passed, and that I will not do. The kind of categorical relief sought by those engaged in state-level marijuana legalization efforts can only come from the legislative process.”
Repeal supporters also noted that 18 medical marijuana dispensaries have ceased to take debit cards and have become cash-only operations. The debit card companies that process payments for the dispensaries severed their relationship with the shops out of fear they could be prosecuted for their participation in the sale of marijuana.